Roma president hits out at Medhi Benatia over 'lies' about his exit

Roma president James Pallotta has branded Medhi Benatia a liar for suggesting he only left for Bayern Munich this summer because the Giallorossi wanted to cash in on him.

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Benatia, 27, told kicker on Monday that he was driven out of the Serie A club as they could not turn down the 26 million-euro offer from Bayern.

"Enquiries started coming in during the year, and I discussed them with the sporting director Walter Sabatini," Benatia said. "He told me that the club essentially wanted to keep me, but that they needed money so they might sell me. We then agreed that I would either get an updated contract or that I would join a top club."

That claim, however, has since been dismissed by Pallotta, who said the Morocco international had "lied to me, to the team and to the coach."

On Roma's official website, Pallotta added: "It's clear that Medhi Benatia has continued to construct a castle of inventions over the past two months. In July in Boston, we had reached a verbal agreement to increase his salary. After having made it explicit that we wanted to hold on to him, he told me that he was delighted.

"During the following month, he lied to [coach] Rudi Garcia and to his teammates about his real desire to stay and about the figures we had discussed. The fact he has lied to me is something I can tolerate. To have lied to Rudi and to his teammates is absolutely unacceptable.

"I told Walter Sabatini that he was poisoning the dressing room harmony and that I wanted rid of him. Both Rudi and Walter agreed with me. It was not about money, it was a question of personality and the dressing room harmony.

"Our financial situation is very solid. As owners of Roma, we are constantly being called on to make difficult decisions. As a fan of Roma, I'm profoundly disappointed that one of our players behaved in this manner."

Roma could earn a further two million euros from the sale of Benatia to the German champions, based on future successes and appearances.

The two sides are set to meet in the group stage of this season's Champions League, having been drawn in Group E along with Manchester City and CSKA Moscow.

And Benatia is now likely to receive a hostile welcome at the Stadio Olimpico, especially after telling kicker that he would "not hold back" against his former teammates like he said he used to do in training.

"I couldn't tackle Francesco Totti so aggressively because we needed him in the league at the weekend," he said.